A few weeks back a beautiful woman named Jamie Baywood contacted me about her book called Getting Rooted in New Zealand. I was so thrilled to read her book and even more excited for the opportunity to interview her after I read it. She sent me a copy and although some family stuff took over my time for a while, when I did get to read her book, I tore through it in one night. Oh my goodness. This girl can write. Also, she is one of the funniest people in the entire world.
|Courtesy of Jamie Baywood|
Her book is a memoir about her time in New Zealand. Jamie moved to New Zealand on a work visa to escape the dating scene she found herself in and to find some adventure. New Zealand has about 100,000 fewer men in the population than women, perfect for a girl needing a change and needing to avoid creepy men. (Side note, she found the creepiest people in California. Her stories about her past relationships are so phenomenally awkward.) Through her introspection about her past and mulling through her present in New Zealand, Jamie is able to find more of herself and finally get rooted in New Zealand, in more ways than one. (The best part of this book is the double meaning of the word rooted. So. Much. Yes.)
|Courtesy of Jamie Baywood.
Look at how stunning she is. Prettiest ever.
She is an amazing writer. Her style is so conversational and open. She’s incredibly honest and giving and you sincerely feel that she is a friend of yours telling you about her time living abroad. When she meets crazy men, you laugh and cringe with her. When she has a horrific day at work with her boss who is a one woman tornado, you get mad with her. When she meets a sexy Scottish guy and starts loving on him, you cheer for her. (PS Jamie… I was 10000% serious when I asked if Grant has any single friends. I love Scots. Hook a girl up!)
After finishing her book I sent her a few interview questions that I’d love to share with you. Here is our interview. Enjoy getting to know Jamie Baywood a bit more; I sure did.
Did you know when you moved to New Zealand that you were going to write a book about your experiences?
I consider myself an accidental author. I didn’t go to New Zealand with the intentions of writing a book about my experiences there. I had funny experiences that I had trouble believing were true. I wrote the stories down to stay sane. I wrote situations down that were happening around me and shared them with friends. The stories made people laugh so I decided to organize the stories into a book and publish in the hopes to make others laugh too.
My education is in fine arts, I didn’t write until I moved to New Zealand. I had a lot of art shows in California and New Zealand and even managed an art collective in Auckland. I was bored with the fine art scene. Everything has already been done before in painting, but I am the only person that can tell my own story. Writing feels like a more honest form of art than any other method I’ve tried.
|Courtesy of Jamie Baywood|
Publishing my book was my way of transforming poison into medicine. I hope that it can help people that have had bad dating experiences or bad work experiences – make them laugh and not give up hope. I had good, bad and weird experiences in New Zealand and California. My experiences have turned me into a writer and I am extremely grateful for that. People that read it either seem to think it’s hilarious or horrifying and I respect all points of view. I hope my book Getting Rooted in New Zealand makes you laugh!
It would be impossible to write down every single thing that happen to me in New Zealand for over a year and it probably wouldn’t be interesting to read. My book is 100% true. These are 100% my experiences. I have changed some the names, but not all of individuals and organizations to preserve privacy. Most of the book was written as the events happened; it just took me a few years to work up the nerve to publish. To write my book Getting Rooted In New Zealand, I relied upon my personal journals, e-mails, and memories. In February 2013, I organized my stories into a cohesive narrative. It went through several rounds of editing and then I published in April.
When did you start writing? What got you started?
I had the opportunity to write and perform for Thomas Sainsbury the most prolific playwright in New Zealand. I performed a monologue about my jobs in the Basement Theatre in Auckland. The funny thing about that experience was Tom kept me separated from the other performers until it was time to perform. I was under the impression that all the performers were foreigners giving their experiences in New Zealand. All of the other performers were professional actors telling stories that weren’t their own. At first I was mortified, but the audience seemed to enjoy my “performance,” laughing their way through my monologue. After the shows we would go out and mingle with the audience. People would ask me how long I had been acting. I would tell them, “I wasn’t acting; I have to go to work tomorrow and sit next to the girl wearing her dead dog’s collar around her neck.”
What was the hardest part about writing this book?
I know my experiences in New Zealand are unusual, but to be completely honest it was an improvement from my life in California. Surprisingly, I seem to be getting the best feedback from people living in New Zealand both Kiwis and non-Kiwis. I have received very kind emails from New Zealanders saying they enjoyed reading my book, they are looking forward to reading the next one and some encourage me to move back to New Zealand.
I love making people laugh more than anything else. I love hearing from readers that my book is making people laugh out loud. The hardest part has been when people don’t understand my humour. I have been in a lot of situations where I had two choices: laugh or cry. I’ve chosen to laugh. I write my experiences from a purely personal standpoint. Compared to other travellers who worked abroad in New Zealand my experiences have been very unusual. I would highly recommend everyone goes to New Zealand to experience their own adventure.
I think readers need to remember this is the dairy of a young, hormonal and confused twenty-something, this is not a travel guide to New Zealand. I am sincerely appreciative of everyone that has read Getting Rooted in New Zealand. I’m absolutely grateful that readers are enjoying the book and reviewing it positively. I love making people laugh. I hope you enjoy Getting Rooted in New Zealand!
From the very beginning it is clear that you are very dedicated to your Buddhist faith. How did you find that faith and what hooked you to it?
In addition to being an accidental author, I am also an accidental Buddhist. I never planned to become either. I was introduced to the Buddhist practice that involves chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo through a friend. I was very reluctant to go to the Buddhist meeting with him; I thought it would be really weird. Much to my surprise hearing the chanting made me feel at home on a cellular level. I’ve always struggled with anxiety and at times depression, chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo calms me to the core.
Over the next few years, through a lot of chanting, going to Buddhist study meetings and reading books like The Buddha in Your Mirror I really learned to love, value and respect myself. For the first time in my life I felt really happy and the happiness came from within. The thing that I like about Buddhism is it is about taking 100% responsibility for your own life. The word karma translates into action. You can change your karma by changing your actions. Essentially, stop doing the same thing and expecting a different result. For me, needed to overcome my relationship karma by stopping dating guys that I knew were wrong for me.
Five years later I’ve now lived and practiced this Buddhism in five different countries: California, American Samoa, New Zealand, Scotland and now England. The practice is in 192 countries around the world and everywhere I go I have a built in community. Five years ago, I never thought I would get married. I’ve now been married for nearly two years and married the son of a knight in a castle in Scotland. My life has transformed in many ways other than my relationship karma, but I have literally chanted my way from trailer parks to castles.
You mention that New Zealand has one hundred thousand fewer men than women. Coming off of a few heartbreaks myself this idea to go to New Zealand is sounding pretty good to me! Was that the only reason you chose New Zealand?
|Courtesy of Jamie Baywood.
Sorry that they are the most attractive
couple in history.
I love being married to him. We got married in a little castle in his home town in Scotland at the beginning of year 2012. My husband wore a kilt. I was hoping for a white winter wedding, but we ended up getting sunshine in Scotland during the winter. It was a magical day; we had a rainbow over a loch, bunny rabbits hoping by us, birds chirping and a full moon reflecting on the loch at night.
We still can’t understand each other if we aren’t in the same room and there are always new words or Scottish sayings I’m learning. I hope I never stop swooning over his accent. Being married to a Scottish man is the best. I love the Scottish accent and all the words he uses. I love hearing wee in every sentence. He calls me wee fluffy bunny. I married the sweetest man. He is also incredibly kind, handsome and humble.
|Courtesy of Jamie Baywood.
This. Is. Perfect.
Time to move to New Zealand
to find my Scot.
Grant is very busy working on a MA in Landscape Architecture. This gives me a lot of time to work on promoting my book and attending book talks throughout the UK.For unwanted and complicated reasons we had to move to England last September. It was devastating to have to move out of Edinburgh to Sheffield, England last year for my husband graduate school. We will have to live here until summer 2014. We had more culture shock going from Scotland to England than anywhere else.
I plan to divide my books by the countries I’ve lived in. My next book will be about attempting to settle in Scotland. I plan to publish it late 2014.
I would highly recommend this book to all of you! It was such a fun read and I loved getting to know Jamie through her book and through our emails. She’s so cool and I cannot wait until her next book release. I want to follow her travels for as long as she writes them. 🙂
I would also like to thank Jamie for the opportunity to read her book and interview her. This was the best! Thanks again, Jamie!
Getting Rooted in New Zealand is available in paperback and ebook on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1482601907
Jamie Baywood can be followed on the following sites:
Happy reading, lovelies!